Lost Temple Game Review


The Basics:

  • For ages 8 and up (publisher suggests 10+)
  • For 2 to 8 players
  • Approximately 30 minutes to complete

Geek Skills:

  • Active Listening & Communication
  • Counting & Math
  • Logical & Critical Decision Making
  • Reading
  • Strategy & Tactics

Learning Curve:

  • Child – Easy
  • Adult – Easy

Theme & Narrative:

  • Race through the jungle to find the legendary lost temple before your opponent’s do!


  • Gamer Geek mixed!
  • Parent Geek approved!
  • Child Geek approved!


Legends speak of a lost temple filled with unimaginable wealth. Treasure hunters have come from around the world to search the surrounding jungle in hopes of finding the lost temple, and in doing so, earning fame and fortune. But many have tried and few have returned. Nevertheless, the draw of riches and prestige keeps adventurers arriving at the small village in large numbers. The local villagers are only too happy to assist…for a price.

Lost Temple, designed by Bruno Faidutti and made available from Stronghold Games under license by White Goblin Games, is comprised of 1 game board (that looks like a jungle map), 8 Machete tokens, 18 Chance tokens, 1 Idol marker, 50 Emerald Gem pieces, 8 player meeples , 8 Player Aid cards, 9 Character cards, and 1 Reference card. For the most part, the production quality of the game is solid except for a few production and printing issues that might only be limited to our copy of the game. Specifically, the game board had an air bubble in it that was between the board and the  illustrated playing area resulting in an uneven playing area for 1/4th of the board. There were also 2 grey colored player meeples provided, which didn’t match any of the 8 Player Aid cards. Whoops. None of these issues stopped us from playing the game.


Preparing for the Expedition

Note: The following game set up is for the “standard game” for 4 to 8 players. Additional rules for game set up for 2 to 3 players are noted in the Game Variant section of this review.

To set up the game, first unfold and place the game board in the middle of the playing area. All of the players will be sitting around this game board.

Second, each player selects a Player Aid card of their color choice and the matching colored player meeple. Any unclaimed Player Aid cards and meeples are placed back in the game box for the duration of the game.

Third, shuffle the Chance tokens and place one randomly for every double circled space on the game board, face-down. Any Chance tokens not placed on the game board are placed to one side, face-down, for future use.

Fourth, shuffle the Character cards and deal 1 to each player. Each player looks at their Character card and the 2 to 3 icons at the bottom right. These icons will show how many starting Emerald Gem pieces they receive and a possible Machete token. These are collected and placed in front of the player. There will also be a number. This number indicates the starting circle space of the player’s meeple, which is placed on the matching game board circle space at this time. Once the icons on the cards are resolved, all the cards are returned to the deck. This is the only time these icons are used in the game.

Fifth, place the Reference card, the Emerald Gem pieces, the Machete tokens, and the Idol marker to one side of the game board. This area is referred to as the “reserve”.

That’s it for game set up. Time to explore the jungle!

A Colorful Cast of Characters

Lost Temple includes 9 characters, each with a unique ability, that will help the player’s attempt to reach the lost temple before their opponents. However, these character do not have any loyalty and will help a player during one round and hinder them the next. Each character is summarized here.

The Shaman

The Shaman allows the player who controls it to shout out another character’s name and curse them. When it is this specific character’s turn during the round that was called, the player swaps their player meeple with their opponent’s meeple who is currently controlling the cursed character. If the cursed character is not revealed, the Shaman provides no special character ability for this round

The Thief

The Thief allows the player who controls it to shout out another character’s name, but not the Shaman. Then the player meeple is moved either 1 or 2 circle spaces on the game board. When it is this specific character’s turn during the round that was called, all that opponent’s Emerald Gem pieces are given to the player.

The Seer

The Seer allows the player to take a look (secretly) at 2 Chance tokens on the game board. These Chance tokens can be swapped if the player wants to. Then the player meeple is moved either 1 or 2 circle spaces on the game board.

The Priest

The Priest allows the player to pay 2 Emerald Gem pieces to the reserve and move their player meeple forward to the next temple circle. This is an optional ability.

The Elder

The Elder allows the player to pay 2 Emerald Gem pieces to the reserve and move their player meeple forward to the next village circle. This is an optional ability.

The Craftsman

The Craftsman gives the player 1 Machete token from the reserve. Then the player meeple is moved either 1 or 2 circle spaces on the game board.

The Scout

The Scout allows the player to pay any number of Emerald Gem pieces to the reserve to move 1 circle space for every 1 Emerald Gem piece spent.

The Canoe

The Canoe requires that the player pay all their Emerald Gem pieces to the reserve and then move the player meeple double the number of Emerald Gem pieces spent up to a maximum of 20 circle spaces. For example, if the player had 6 Emerald Gem pieces, they could move their player meeple 12 circle spaces (6 x 2 = 12).

The Child

The Child allows the player to move their player meeple up to the same circle space currently occupied by any opponent who is directly in front of them, even if there is already another meeple occupying the same circle space.

Journey Through the Jungle

The game is played in rounds with each round broken down into 2 phases. These phases are summarized here.

Phase 1: Character Selection

The 9 Character cards are shuffled and placed face-down in front of the table by the player who currently controls the Idol marker. If this is the first round, the player who is occupying the circle with the highest number (who is also last in the race starting position) has the Idol marker first. Depending on the number of players, a number of Character cards will be automatically collected and set aside. From these cards that are set aside, a small number might (depending on the number of players) be turned face-up. This gives the players a general idea of what Character cards remain.

The player with the Idol marker now takes the remaining cards and selects one, placing it face-down in front of them. The deck of remaining Character cards is now passed to the next player going clockwise, who selects a Character card, places it face-down in front of them, and then passes the deck of Character cards to the next player. This continues until all the players have selected a Character card. Any Character cards left over that are not selected are placed face-down with the original cards that were removed from the deck of Character cards.

Phase 2: Movement

Turn order is called out by the player who currently controls the Idol marker. The reference card provides the character turn order. It starts with the Shaman, then the Thief, and so on until all 9 character’s have been called or all the player’s have had a turn in the round. If a character is called but has not been selected, it is simply skipped.

When a character is called that the player selected during phase 1, they reveal it and any character effects initiated by the player’s opponents are triggered. Then the player takes 1 Emerald Gem piece and uses the ability noted on their Character card.

Movement through the jungle is tracked by moving player meeples from one circle space to another along a jungle path. Some of the circles will be considered “deep jungle” that can only be moved passed by paying a Machete token to the reserve. If a player is unable to pay a Machete token, their movement stops regardless of how many circle spaces they might be able to move through. There are also Chance tokens scattered along the jungle path. When a player meeple ends their movement on one of these Chance tokens, it is immediately flipped over and resolved. Chance tokens can give the player control of the Idol marker, bonus Emerald Gem pieces, bonus movement, and extra Machete tokens. Chance tokens can also hinder a player by forcing them to put Emerald Gem pieces and Machete tokens into the reserve, as well as force them to move backwards. Once the Chance token is resolved, it is moved to the reserve, face-down, and then a new random Chance token is put in the same circle, face-down, for the next adventurer to find.

Note that any number of player meeples can occupy the same circle at a time without penalty.

The player who is the furthest back and closest to the starting position now takes the Idol marker unless another opponent found the Idol icon under a Chance token (in which case, the opponent controls it). If two or more players are equally behind, then the player who has the least number of Emerald Gem pieces claims the Idol marker. If there is still a tie, the player who had the Idol marker at the end of the round starts with it during the next round.

Discovery…of the End

The game continues until a player moves their player meeple to the big temple circle on the game board and is declared the winner.  It is not necessary to land “exactly” on the big temple space using full movement to count. A quick glance at the game board will show an observant player that there are actually 2 big temples. For 6 to 8 players, the first big temple is used to end the game. For 2 to 5 players, the last big temple is used.

Game Variants

The game play is slightly different for a 2 to 3 player game.

For 2-Players

The player with the Idol marker shuffles the Character cards and randomly discards one of them face-up and one of them face-down. These are then set aside. The player with the Idol marker then selects 1 of the remaining 7 Character cards, passing the deck to their opponent. Their opponent now selects a Character card and then randomly discards a Character card face-down. The deck is then passed back to the player with the Idol marker and the process is repeated until both players have 2 Character cards each. The player’s turn is initiated each time their selected character is called.

For 3-Players

The player with the Idol marker shuffles the Character cards and randomly discards 1 Character card face-down. The player then selects a Character card as normal, as do the next two players. When the deck of Character cards is returned to the player with the Idol marker, they first shuffle the deck and then discards 1 Character card at random, face-down. Then the player with the Idol marker looks at the deck and selects their second Character card. The deck is passed to the other two players who select their Character card as normal. The remaining Character card that was not selected is placed face-down.


When introducing the game to Child Geeks, you might want to consider giving them an automatic Machete token regardless of what Character card they are given at the beginning of the game. This will give them a slight advantage and the ability to keep moving when they hit their first “deep jungle” space. Don’t you dare favor the Parent Geeks, no matter how much they whine.

The standard game calls for the first lost temple to be the finish line for a 6 to 8 player game. This would appear to be done to keep the game length as short as possible. If game length is not a concern, consider using the last temple. This will create a longer race, of course, but more enjoyable play time as a result.

To learn more about Lost Temple, visit the game’s web page.


Here’s the thing about Lost Temple….

This isn’t a new game. Or, better put, this isn’t a new game idea. In fact, I’d suggest it is a re-themed and slightly retooled version of Bruno Faidutti’s card game, CitadelsFor those Gamer and Parent Geeks who have played Citadels before, I am very curious to see if they see Lost Temple as a simpler version or a unique game in its own right. For any player who is not familiar with Citadels, I think Lost Temple will be very well received, especially if they have not played a game that uses the role selection game mechanism.

Teaching the game should be pretty easy, regardless if the players are Child, Parent, or Gamer Geeks. There’s light strategy and tactics involved in the game, but a player need not be fully aware of them to play the game fully. This will make it an easy game for the Child Geeks to jump into and play, but it will also provide depth of game play for those who want to really think through their role selection. The only requirement to play this game is the absolute need to be able to read the cards. All role selection is done in secret and asking other players to help you with cards will greatly reduce a player’s level of fun. For that reason, I won’t be putting Lost Temple in front of any of our younger Child Geeks who are still learning their ABC’s.

My 8-year-old is  a great candidate to play Lost Temple. Not only can he read and play more complicated games well, he has never played Citadels. I’m sure I can find many Parent Geeks who haven’t played Citadels, either. Finding Gamer Geeks who will look at Lost Temple without comparing it to Citadels is going to be a real challenge but absolutely necessary. I always attempt to rate a game on its own merit without comparing it to other games that are also available. I do this for two reasons. First, I always attempt to be as objective as possible and suggesting that a game is like or not like another game starts to wander off into the tall grass of subjective comparison. While many times it is impossible not to do so, I do make a conscious effort to avoid it. Second, lots and lots and lots of games share common game mechanisms. I could spend an entire day suggesting how games relate, cross, share, and reuse game mechanisms. That doesn’t sound like fun.

And so, after teaching the game to my 8-year-old, and answering the few questions he had, we were ready to play. His biggest concern was knowing what role he needed to select to win the game. I told him that was completely based on his placement in the race and what he wanted to do during the current round. It is very difficult (if not flat out impossible) to plan what you are going to do 2 or more rounds ahead because the Character cards are always changing. This made him feel a bit better and he agreed that he should just focus on the “here a now” of the current round. Having squashed that bug of insecurity, I asked him his thoughts on the game so far as I shuffled the cards.

“A really neat idea and a different twist on a race game. I like how I get to pick different people each time, but I am going to hate the Thief.” ~ Liam (age 8)

Yep, the Thief is a nasty character in this game, but it isn’t an unbeatable one. It has its pros and cons like all the other characters. It is all based on how and when they are used and nothing more. Let’s start making our way through the jungle of uncertainty and see if we find Lost Temple to be a hidden gem or a wasted journey.

Final Word

With the three Child Geeks we played the game with, not a single one of them thought that Lost Temple was anything less than a “great game”. They had a wonderful time and thought the race felt fast, feverish, and exciting from start to finish. They showed some excellent logical thinking when it came to role selection and even demonstrated some thoughtful strategy and tactics as the finish line started to get closer. Most importantly, they Child Geeks demonstrated that they not only were selecting specific Character cards that benefited them, but also those that could target opponents. This greatly pleased me as it clearly showed that the Child Geeks understood why you want to carefully select a Character card in the first place. Having shown a complete understanding of the game, excellent game play, and smiles all-round as a result, the Child Geeks had no problem approving Lost Temple.

My oldest little geek carefully considers his options before selecting a character

My oldest little geek carefully considers his options before selecting a character

The Parent Geeks rather enjoyed themselves with Lost Temple and thought it was frantic and fun. They enjoyed it with their peers and their family equally and greatly enjoyed the fact that the game easily accommodated large families or more than one family at a time. Where the game really did well was at the family gaming table. Lost Temple was a huge hit and was a clear winner with Child, Parent, and even non-gamer Geeks. The Parent Geeks gladly approved Lost Temple with one Parent Geek stating, “this is the kind of game I could play at every Family Game Night and never get tired of it.”

The Gamer Geeks, as predicted, were highly critical of Lost Temple. For those Gamer Geeks who had played Citadels before, they saw Lost Temple as a “dumbed down” and much less interesting version of Citadels. One Gamer Geek stated, “this is the race version of a game I love, but it’s not enough for me to enjoy it.” This feeling was shared among the vast majority of Gamer Geeks, but they all agreed it would make a great family game. I was actually able to find two Gamer Geeks who had not played Citadels before and have them try Lost Temple. They rather enjoyed it and thought it was a fun and engaging game. The final results of what I observed suggests that the Gamer Geeks have no problem with the game, think it is solid, but their level of enjoyment is fully based on if they have had prior game play experience with Citadels. Even so, the game remained mixed in regards to the final level of endorsement from our Gamer Geeks.

I like Lost Temple, but only as a family game. For those who are very familiar with Citadels, it might help to view Lost Temple as the “family friendly version”.  I don’t think the game itself has enough bite to it to make it a game I would want to play with my Gamer Geek friends, but I’d play it in a heartbeat with my family and family friends. The game is solid, plays fast, plays smart, and is a lot of fun…with the family. When I played Lost Temple with the Gamer Geeks, it felt like I was going through the motions of a race but never felt the excitement that a race should provide. Yeah, I was “racing”, but I didn’t feel like I was putting much effort into it or even needed to. Not the case when I played Lost Temple with the family and other Parent Geeks. With the right crowd, Lost Temple felt like a totally different game – most likely because of the lack of overall game experience the Child Geeks and Parent Geeks have. For me, their level of enjoyment and enthusiasm made something old feel new again and that was pretty cool.

I wouldn’t recommend Lost Temple to a fellow game enthusiast if I knew they had Citadels, but I would highly recommend it to families without a second thought. Do jump on this jungle trail as it will lead you to fun.

This game was given to Father Geek as a review copy. Father Geek was not paid, bribed, wined, dined, or threatened in vain hopes of influencing this review. Such is the statuesque and legendary integrity of Father Geek.

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About Cyrus

Editor in Chief, Owner/Operator, Board Game Fanatic, Father of Three, and Nice Guy, Cyrus has always enjoyed board, card, miniature, role playing, and video games, but didn't get back into the hobby seriously until early 2000. Once he did, however, he was hooked. He now plays board games with anyone and everyone he can, but enjoys playing with his children the most. Video games continue to be of real interest, but not as much as dice and little miniatures. As he carefully navigates the ins and outs of parenting, he does his very best to bestow what wisdom he has and help nurture his children's young minds. It is his hope and ambition to raise three strong, honorable men who will one day go on to do great things and buy their Mom and Dad a lobster dinner. Cyrus goes by the handle fathergeek on Board Game Geek. You can also check him out on CyrusKirby.com. Yes, he has a URL that is his name. His ego knows no bounds, apparently....

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